Howdy, SixPrizes! LAIC is getting closer and closer, and I feel that the players are not quite sure what the format will look like or what they will play in this big tournament. With that in mind, I decided to review the metagame based on my training and testing to help all players who are not sure what to expect from the Standard format with the arrival of Cosmic Eclipse.
Talking about the whole metagame is a very long subject, so I decided to split into two parts. In Part 1 (today) I will talk about the decks that caught my attention and then in Part 2 (next week) I will talk about the decks that can surprise the metagame.
Let’s head into the article.
GardEon has gotten even better with the arrival of Chaotic Swell to help prevent Fairy Charms from being disabled by Lysandre Labs. In addition, the deck now has all the consistency of Tag Call, Cynthia & Caitlin, Guzma & Hala, and Mallow & Lana.
I see some lists cutting Xerneas-GX from the deck for the new Tool Island Challenge Amulet. In theory, both Xerneas-GX and Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX with Island Challenge Amulet surrender only 2 Prizes when Knocked Out, forcing the opponent to Knock Out 3 Pokémon to draw all of their Prizes. In practice, Island Challenge Amulet didn’t work as well as I would have liked, and Xerneas-GX turned out to be much better than just a 2-Prize offering.
Sanctuary-GX is still very strong, capable of healing all damage on your board and hitting for extremely high damage, sometimes even enough to Knock Out a TAG TEAM Pokémon.
Cynthia & Caitlin is worse than Coach Trainer, but it can be found with Tag Call, which greatly increases your chances of always having a draw Supporter available when needed. In addition, Cynthia & Caitlin allows you to return a Supporter from your discard to your hand, so you will have a Supporter for next turn.
- Fairy Charm,
- Chaotic Swell (to protect from Lysandre Labs), and
- Draw Energy (to attack with Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX).
Mallow & Lana is a mandatory Supporter if you want to have a good chance of beating Malamar/Giratina in the current meta. In addition to the healing effect, it can simply switch your Pokémon, which is always useful. And, of course, it can be found with Tag Call.
Faba is a key card for breaking Chaotic Swells in Keldeo-GX decks and thus being able to stick a Power Plant on the board and hit Keldeo-GX. Additionally, it may be helpful to remove annoying Tools like Choice Helmet and Island Challenge Amulet.
Maximizing the Tag Call count solves two problems for the deck, especially on the first turn of the game, which are
- to find for other Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX to energize them and
- some Supporter to start developing my game.
Draw Energy is good because Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX’s Fairy Song attack needs only 1 C Energy. The effect of drawing a card is no big deal, but Draw Energy’s differential is that it can be found with Guzma & Hala.
This Stadium fits perfectly into GardEon as it provides the function of protecting Fairy Charm against opponents’ Lysandre Labs.
Malamar/Giratina always seems to be a good option until the metagame evolves and is properly prepared to deal with the constant 130 damage caused by Giratina LOT. At this time, Malamar/Giratina is hyped as it has gained new cards like…
- Blacephalon CEC to spread damage on the opponent’s board,
- Mimikyu CEC 97 to disable Mewtwo & Mew-GX and Jirachi-GX, and
- Great Catcher to Knock Out damaged Benched Pokémon-GX.
It was a good deck that got even better.
Blacephalon CEC fits in Malamar decks to do a little better than Espeon & Deoxys-GX did before. The main advantages of Blacephalon CEC are that it is a non-Pokémon-GX and its attack costs only 2 Energies.
In addition to being critical in the Malamar mirror, and a possibly good attacker against Pidgeotto Control, Fireworks Bomb deals 12 damage counters when the opponent has 3 Prizes remaining, which makes it capable of taking multiple knockouts with the help of Spell Tag.
Its Ability Shadow Box causes a huge headache for Mew Box decks, forcing players to adapt their lists to deal with Mimikyu or abandon the matchup altogether. I believe players will respect Mimikyu very much and use Stealthy Hood if necessary.
Rosa is an amazing Supporter for the mid game. In Malamar, I have no difficulty doing the initial setup, and at the end of the game, the deck is thinned and board is stabilized. The biggest problem I feel with Malamar is between turns 2 and 4, when the opponent is already attacking and you have used a lot of resources to set up. Rosa allows you to take three more resources, ensuring the upkeep of your board.
Malamar is a 2-hit KO deck against Pokémon-GX decks in general, and before the arrival of the Great Catcher it was only possible to finish a knockout with the help of Espurr UNB and Espeon & Deoxys-GX. Now, we can simply use Great Catcher and finish a Giratina LOT knockout. This is much easier and more consistent than before.
I really like Jirachi in this deck and I think it is well suited for the deck’s strategy. The main goal of Pidgeotto Control is to draw as many cards as possible from the deck and keep only the essential cards in order to lock the opponent. So far this is no secret to anyone.
Jirachi isn’t only the perfect starter, but Stellar Wish is superior to Air Mail for consistency, as it allows you to look at more cards from the top of your deck. But that doesn’t mean we have to choose one or the other; we can use Stellar Wish and Air Mail at the same time and thus further filter the deck and draw the necessary cards in less time.
To beat Pidgeotto Control, the opponent must be faster—by drawing Prizes or disrupting the accumulation of cards in hand with Judge and Reset Stamp. Jirachi will help in both cases. It will speed up the filtering of the deck and fill the hand with the cards needed to complete the lock at the end of the game.
If there’s a deck that doesn’t suffer from discarded cards, it’s Pidgeotto Control, thanks to Oranguru UPR, the deck’s main attacker. I like Hapu to exhaust 6 cards from the deck (while still keeping 2). Keep in mind that the goal is to have a very thin deck.
This card arrived with big hype for this deck, but in my view it’s just a good card. It does not help in setup and also does not help to lock the opponent, so you will not want to use it often—only when your entire strategy of locking the opponent has been realized. I believe it is a necessary card in order to accelerate the opponent’s defeat when they are already locked and out of a hand.
Pidgeotto Control games take a long time, especially if your opponent adopts a passive stance. Bellelba & Brycen-Man enters at this point, and can shorten a game that might otherwise last 40–45 minutes to instead 25–30 minutes.
Of course, it can also have an interesting effect and may discard important resources from the opponent, but you are not sure that you will discard good cards. Bellelba & Brycen-Man can have a negative effect, discarding the opponent’s useless cards and keeping only the good ones. In that case, you would be contributing to your own defeat.
There is a very effective type of strategy against Pidgeotto Control, which is to spread damage counters on the board and take multiple knockouts at once, preying on the birds’ low HP. The main villains who employ this strategy are Mew UNB, Blacephalon CEC, and Espeon & Deoxys-GX. I believe Sky Pillar is well suited to stop these Pokémon.
Charizard & Braixen (Green’s)
Chalk up one more strong card for the Fire type. Brilliant Flare hits for 180 damage and searches for any 3 cards in the deck. This opens the door for strong plays that rely on 3 or more cards at the same time, such as Reset Stamp + Jessie & James + Weezing HIF + Chip-Chip Ice Axe. But of course, in addition to this type of play, being able to look for any 3 cards in the deck is always very good.
Crimson Flame Pillar-GX is a great GX attack, which attaches 5 discarded basic Energies onto your Pokémon in any way you like, and leaves the opponent’s Active Burned and Confused (with plus bonus). This attack helps a lot against Control decks like Pidgeotto Control.
At first I tested this idea just as a fun experiment. I didn’t think it would have competitive potential because you have to combine so many cards at the same time, which can be undone by Reset Stamp and also foiled because opponents will expect this move from Charizard & Braixen-GX decks. But then I realized that it was still an important option, and that opponents would have to respect this move, even though it might not happen.
Against Pidgeotto Control I find the match favorable because throughout the game you discard cards from your opponent’s hand and disrupt their setup and strong plays. Discarding 3 cards from the opponent’s hand is practically the old Supporter Delinquent, and many of us remember how impactful Delinquent was.
The main reason for Choice Helmet is that it can help you stay alive against ReshiRom, but along with Mallow & Lana, Choice Helmet can help Charizard & Braixen-GX survive against a variety of situations and matchups, such as Gardevoir & Sylveon-GX.
Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX has the opportunity to punish the opponent if they play a lot of Pokémon-GX and try to be very aggressive. Turbo ReshiRom decks tend to play many Pokémon-GXs like Dedenne-GX and Rayquaza-GX to hit 270 with Fabled Flarebolts in consecutive turns.
Charizard & Braixen-GX followed by Mallow & Lana is a great tech against Malamar/Giratina as it will Knock Out Giratina LOT while looking for resources to pull off Espeon & Deoxys-GX’s Cross Division-GX attack.
ChariXen is also a great attacker against GardEon as there is no Fairy Charm R and it forces the opponent to use Reset Stamp every time you Brilliant Flare.
Guzma & Hala makes the mission of assembling a Mewtwo & Mew-GX with Weakness Guard Energy + Stealthy Hood much easier. Also, it’s good to be able to find a Stadium to break Power Plant or even find Choice Helmet to deal with ReshiRom.
I already use a copy of Guzma & Hala to search for Stealthy Hood, so I decide to include Choice Helmet to deal with ReshiRom. In practice, the Choice Helmet has proven to be very helpful against ReshiRom and it has helped me several other times as well.
Stealthy Hood only serves against Malamar/Giratina to stop Mimikyu CEC 97, but I believe it is necessary. You are unlikely to use it in other games, but you may end up using it to stop Ninetales TEU or Volcarona-GX.
This Energy is critical for dealing with Malamar/Giratina and mirror.
I believe the Turbo decks will have a hard time dealing with Malamar/Giratina, Pidgeotto, and even Green’s decks (like GardEon and Charizard & Braixen) due to the Reset Stamp + Power Plant combo. You need to slow down these decks by adding more control and containment cards like Guzma & Hala and Mallow & Lana. Of course, a Turbo deck may have advantages over slightly slower TAG TEAM decks, like Mew Box with a lot of tech cards, but I believe, considering the overall metagame, it is worth having a more versatile deck to handle many matchups.
The metagame is open and new strategies have come with Cosmic Eclipse; it’s not just being fast and aggressive.
In my next article I will be looking at the missing decks to compose our LAIC metagame. Below is my traditional tier list.
- Pidgeotto Control
- Charizard & Braixen-GX (Green’s)
- Dark Box
- ReshiZard (Ability)
I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you back next week for the second part of this article!
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